Nov 19, 2017 | margaret henry

Teenagers and Obesity


For many overweight teens, their physical health and well being are the least of their problems.  Much more relevant is the teasing and abuse they receive from their peers at school and near where they live.  For many, it is not only what others think of them that is upsetting, but it is what they actually think of themselves.  A good percentage of teenagers (especially girls) are clinically depressed because they are so preoccupied with their weight. It does not help that in every model or every actress you see, and that people tend to aspire to be, are usually stick thin.


There is evidence now amounting to just how much pressure is being placed on obese teenagers. A recent survey reveals that these kids rate the quality of life they have as low as that of young cancer patients while they are having chemotherapy.  There are other studies which have been carried out that report increased rates of depression, low self esteem and isolation from other members of their age group, which can result in behavioral problems in some.  These teenagers are less likely to be accepted into higher education (college) or to get married, and are more likely to be part of the lower socioeconomic groups.


What is worse is that many overweight teens will be hard on themselves, and will often be mistreated by others.  A study carried out in 2001 by Latner and Stunkard finds that this situation, rather than improving, has steadily got worse.


Often, those teens who are overweight can suffer from other problems such as cardiovascular, orthopedic, gastrointestinal, respiratory, hormonal, neurological and metabolic diseases (diabetes).  These can often manifest themselves through psychological problems, and you may then have to ask for assistance from a trained professional in order to deal with them.


Today in the US, there are some weight loss programs for kids which are residential and combine psychological therapy with behavior change therapy in order to improve the teens self-esteem as well as their physical health. 

There are a number of ways to deal with low self-esteem, one way is taking up a hobby, increasing their stamina and challenging their own belief system. Exercise such as skipping is an excellent way to do this.

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